Correctly Unsettling: Our Review of ‘Hounds Of Love’

Correctly Unsettling: Our Review of ‘Hounds Of Love’

There’s disturbing, there’s upsetting and then there is just flat out fucked up…but it’s why we as film critics do the job.

Hounds of Love paints the most disturbing scenario possible for a family and slow burns us through the entire thing with such immaculate precision that you’ll be desperate for a shower afterwards.

It’s the mid-1980’s and people in suburban Perth are unaware that women are disappearing at the hands of the monsters in their midst; serial killers John and Evelyn White (Stephen Curry and Emma Booth). After an innocent lapse in judgment, Vicki Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings) is randomly abducted by the disturbed couple. With her murder imminent, Vicki realizes she must find a way to drive a wedge between Evelyn and John if she is to survive.

It’s for a movie to be genuinely traumatic, but that’s what Hounds of Love does and then some thanks to some chilling performances and a damn near masterstroke in writing/editing and direction.

Writer/Director Ben Young is just so damn subtle at turning innocent suburbia into the scariest fucking place on earth and from minute one he provides the entire affair with a foreboding tone that is honestly hard to look away from.  He manages to engage us as an audience in something horrendous that we know damn well is coming but he executes all so damn well that the only thing we can do IS watch.  He doesn’t hit us over the head with anything clunky or overt and the situation just infects us.  The script is pretty tight and the narrative moves along at a very deliberate but expected speed since we aren’t supposed to be horrified by the actions on the screen, he allows us as an audience to anticipate the horrible things that are coming and we put ourselves on the edge of our seat even before things really do get grim.  And make no mistake, this isn’t one of those films that is just dark for the sake of being dark, it has structure, purpose and will make you look cross eyed at what your neighbours are doing across the street, it’s that insidiously effective.

The true lynch pin of the film is Emma Booth as Evelyn in the defeated yet still fairly aware Karla Homolka role.  Through simple and quiet nuance she gives the audience anything from terrifying to utterly defeated and everything in-between.  She is the genuine key to Vicki’s survival and the more the movie goes on the more she truly begins to realize it.  Stephen Curry slides into the slight and menacing dirt bag who is too much of a coward to lash out at a world that takes advantage of him while channelling all of his rage inward while Ashleigh Cummings carries enough of the load to be able to effective develop a wedge in the middle of the twisted relationship of John and Evelyn.

This is easily the poster child for “Hidden Gem” in 2017.  This is one of those movies that flies under radars far too easily and it shouldn’t because for anyone who enjoys their horror not in blood splattered action but in unsettling psychological warfare that could be happening anywhere in any town, any city a lot closer then we care to even think about…Hounds of Love will get under your skin and you won’t shake it anytime soon.

Playing a limited run in Toronto and Ottawa and is also available via most UVOD platforms like iTunes.  Just see it in as dark a room as you possibly can…you won’t forget it.

This post was written by
David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.